A California court has ruled that detainees are legally allowed to possess marijuana, but that they are not allowed to use it.
Last week, the Sacramento District Third Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of five inmates found with marijuana, highlighting the Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot initiative claiming that possession of less than one ounce of marijuana was no longer a crime in the state.
"The purpose of this language is to describe the wide range of means of consumption, and consumption, not possession, is the act determined by voters who must remain criminalized if the user is in prison" said the decision on Tuesday. . "We agree with the defendants that consumption can be achieved by means not strictly involving smoking or ingestion, such as inhaled in the form of non-burning steam or applied topically so that they are absorbed by the skin.
However, the court pointed out that smoking or ingesting marijuana remains a crime.
The decision added that the prison authorities reserved the right to prohibit possession in order to "maintain order and security in prisons".
"Although the court's decision is still under review, we clearly want to make it clear that the use and sale of drugs in state prisons is still prohibited," said Vicky Waters, a spokesperson. the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "C.D.C.R. is committed to creating a safe and responsible environment for inmates and staff, and we plan to evaluate this decision by ensuring that our institutions maintain health and safety. "
The thought behind allowing possession but not consumption was clear to at least one lawyer.
"One can never smoke in an establishment, one can cause fires, everyone is trapped in cells, he can not escape," said Saturday Michael Kraut, criminal defense lawyer and former California Attorney. "The problem is not the possession of marijuana; it's not about whether it's medical, medical or recreational. "
"The problem is that you can not make a fire," he said.
A marijuana advocacy group in California said that he did not think the decision would have any real effects.
"I think it's kind of a novelty decision," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which defends laws and regulations on fair marijuana in California. "As is Although recognized, many behaviors and activities may be legal under state law, but they are not necessarily allowed for incarcerated people. "
Mr. Armentano explained that while marijuana – in small amounts – was legal for adults in California, nothing prevented the state's prison agency from taking its own measures.
"This is one of those issues where such a loophole can exist, but it's arguably will only exist for a short time, "said Armentano. "You would have a hard time asserting that the majority of Californians, when they decided on this issue, were voting to allow marijuana into the criminal justice system."
He said that he did not believe that inmates should be allowed to consume marijuana.
"It would be against current laws and regulations" and cultural concerns. mores, he said, "to allow prisoners to use any kind of intoxicants for recreational purposes".